Wednesday, August 14, 2013
John Stossel comprehensively demolishes the myth that the gap in earnings
between men and women of comparable ages is due to sexual discrimination. I had
heard that much of the gap could be attributed to the choice many women make to
leave the workforce to raise children for years at a time, and that is implicit
in Stossel's argument. But Stossel frames the argument differently, emphasizing
what women are getting in lieu of higher pay:
[Facebook CEO Sheryl] Sandberg's been criticized by feminists for this common-sense message. The critics claim she "blames the victim." But most women are anything but victims. Making a different choice, choosing a less career-driven life, may be why women have more friends and live longer.It may be technically correct to simply note that less time in a career equals less experience and, therefore, should come with the expectation of lower pay. Nevertheless, Stossel's approach does two more things. First, it underscores the justice of how the market sets compensation for those who make such choices. Second, it appeals to the women that feminists are pandering to, helping them realize that it is wrong to effectively demand "redress" for a choice that is already being rewarded in other ways.
Many women don't want "corporate success," though it's politically incorrect to admit it, says Sabrina Schaeffer, executive director of the Independent Women's Forum.
"I don't think that most women want what Sheryl Sandberg wants," Schaeffer told me. "In some recent studies, only 23 percent of women said that they would prefer to work full-time, let alone (have the) sort of CEO quality of life that Sheryl Sandberg is living."
Salary numbers yanked out of all context, save sex and age, are insufficient evidence that sex discrimnation has occurred. (But even the occurrence of unjust discrimination in no way justifies rights-violating, prescriptive, and discriminatory "equal opportunity" laws.) On top of that, those numbers do not even reflect all forms of compensation one obtains from one's choices in life. Stossel deserves our thanks for showing just how thin a reed number-based arguments for egalitarian solutions really are.